My teen first started talking about Facebook in 5th grade. I joined Facebook around the same time.
We don’t friend our Teen, BUT we have her password. She knows that anything she posts could be viewed by one of us at any time. She’s a conscientious student and all-around good kid who “gets” that the Facebook account is hers alone, but mom and dad need to know that she is using her Facebook account in a positive way.
The issue of friends comes up when I talk to my Teen. I’m friends with a ton of people because of my job, but I’m in social media. I want to friend or follow more people so that more people will see what I am writing about. If you know me on Twitter you know that I have many followers and I run multiple Twitter accounts. My Teen on the other hand should only be friending people she knows. Period.
We also made the rule that the Teen can only friend people she has actually met in person…school, sports, camp, church, but I don’t want her friending her out-of-town friend’s friends or random people. Facebook is a massive network built on the concept of friendship. For teens, there’s a problem with having access to too many friends. I want my Teen to only friend kids she knows.
But, what about younger kids? I saw a disturbing news report about an 8-year-old who has a Facebook account. 8! Her mom set up the account for her, so she could play games. Seems harmless enough to let a kid play Bejewled like mom, right? When this child was allowed to get on Facebook to play a game, she was friended by a bunch of people unknown to her and her mom. Before you knew it the little girl was having photos sent to her. Nasty photos, too. Bizarre and inappropriate messages were posted by unknown-to-her people to her wall. In fact what started as a harmless way to let a kid play games online turned in to a situation where a little child was exposed to images and language far beyond her years.
There’s a reason why the Facebook TOS specifies that all users are 13. But, where can younger kids get the experience of being online, but not be bombarded with inappropriate material and language from unknown-to-them people? Yoursphere
Two years ago, our family discovered Yoursphere.com. We have been with Yoursphere since our Teen was a Tween, and our Tween was a Kid, and our Kid was a Preschooler. We’re part of the Yoursphere.com family, that is for sure.
Yoursphere lets our Tween play Bejeweled like Dad. Only our Tween is playing in a safe, secure online community only for kids, while Dad is playing on Facebook. Both have the same experience, but I know that my Tween is safe.
Here’s the deets on Yourpshere, if you’re interested:
- Yoursphere.com is FREE. Free!
- Kids and Tweens can not create an account without parental validation of that account. Peace of mind for this mom.
- Kids and Tweens can play games — Bejeweled, Diner Dash, Crazi Taxi, Space Kidnappers, and so many more.
- Kids and Tweens can join groups or Spheres with other Kids and Tweens who enjoy the same things.
Once your kids are signed up for Yoursphere.com, they can join Animal Planet’s Victoria Stilwell It’s Me or the Dog Sphere or get a little wild with the star of Wild Recon Donald Schultz’ Sphere. Are your kids in to watching fun game shows like mine are? Then they will love newest celebrity sphere: Jeff Sutphen. You many not know him, but you will know of the two shows he hosts…Nickelodeon’s BrainSurge and our family favorite, 101 Ways to Leave a Game Show.
I am the Social Media Manager for Yoursphere. If you sign up for a FREE Yoursphere account for your kids, use code YSMA-JILL…your kids will receive 75 credits to spend in the Yoursphere Gift Gallery when you use my code!